- Associated Press - Thursday, November 6, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) - Authorities say the owner of a Phoenix auto body shop is accused of staging car accidents and collecting on fraudulent insurance claims.

Arizona Department of Insurance investigators say 33-year-old Guillermo “Willie” Altamirano allegedly staged crashes to collect at least $200,000 in fraudulent claims.

The group reportedly relied on forged drivers’ licenses from Mexico and Guatemala plus disposable cellphones and prepaid credit cards to purchase auto insurance under fictitious names.

Altamirano is the owner of Champion Auto Body in Phoenix. It was unclear Thursday if he has a lawyer yet.

Acting on a tip, state Department of Insurance agents conducted an undercover operation in April at the auto body shop.

Altamirano was arrested Thursday. He’s accused of conspiracy, assisting a criminal syndicate, fraud schemes, theft and forgery.

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